Syria Defence & Security Report

Providing expert analysis, independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on the defence & security industry.

Report includes: BMI Industry View, Industry SWOT Analysis, Industry Forecasts, BMI's Security Risk Reward Index, Company Profiles and Global, Regional and Country Industry Overviews.

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Syria Defence & Security Report
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BMI View: Syria remains embroiled in a full-scale civil war. Without any viable political process and in view of the number of armed groups operating in Syria, BMI does not foresee any let up in the violence soo n . Our view is that while the anti-Islamic State coalition has made some strides, the long term effectiveness of this coalition to bring stability to Syria seems rather questionable.

Although the air-strikes carried out by the U.S. led anti-Islamic State coalition have hurt the group hard, we think that their long-term effectiveness is questionable without a longer term strategy on how to remove Assad and bring about a political transition. Without defining a clearer strategy to remove Assad, we think that the U.S. is leaving itself in a dangerous position

In view of Syria's failed economy, BMI estimates indicate that Syria's defence expenditure will finish the year 2014 with a 3.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) decrease, which would leave the budget at an estimated USD2bn. Depending on the continuing survival of the regime, we do not anticipate any significant growth in defence spending in the years ahead nor do we anticipate the value of imports and exports to change for the remainder of the forecast period ending in 2019.

Syria's Security Risk Index score has dropped significantly in comparison to before the civil war commenced. For Q115, we have given it a score of a mere 21, which is down from 23 earlier in 2014, and 57 from January 2011. Currently, Syria stands at the bottom of our Security Risk Index for the Middle East. Its average from the end of 2007 is also dropping, and currently stands at 40. We are not envisaging any improvement to these scores over the course of 2015.

Recent Developments:

  • On November 6 2014, the Syrian army recaptured the al-Shaer gas field, 110 kilometres east of Homs, from the Islamic State, who had taken control of the field at the end of October.

  • In December 2014, the Assad regime sustained a major setback in northern Syria with the loss of two major military bases - Wadi al Deif and al Hamidiyah - to al Qaida's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front. An estimated 350 regime fighters died, 250 were wounded, and 500 managed to retreat.

  • In December 2014, U.S. led airstrikes in Syria continue to target the city of Kobani near the Turkish border. U.S. airstrikes have been targeting the city since October, but they have thus far failed to uproot the extremist group from the city.

  • Despite divergences on the U.S. and Turkey's strategy towards Syria, in November 2014, the two countries agreed to train and equip a group of 2000 fighters of the Free Syrian Army.

  • In December 2014, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov's visited to Damascus. Earlier in October, upon a visit of a Syrian delegation, Russia reportedly refused to award Damascus a line of credit worth USD3bn.

Key Forecasts:

  • Plagued by both domestic and international terrorist groups, Syria has obtained a very low score of 18 on the BMI Terrorist Risk Index.

  • Similarly, on the interstate component of our risk index, Syria has obtained a low score of 20 in view of the number of regional and international actors militarily involved in the country.

  • We currently forecast Syria's defence expenditure to value at an estimated USD2.0bn for the year ending in 2014, and close to 2.2bn for 2015. However, over the medium-term, we anticipate defence spending to be negatively affected as a result of the ongoing conflict.

BMI Industry View
Operational Risk
Industry Forecast
Defence Expenditure
Table: Defence Expenditure (Syria 2012-2019)
Armed Forces
Table: Armed Forces Personnel (Syria 2005-2012)
Table: Manpower Available For Military Service (Syria 2012-2019)
Defence Exports And Imports
Table: Defence Imports (Syria 2012-2019)
Table: Defence Exports (Syria 2012-2019)
Macroeconomic Forecasts
Economic Analysis
Industry Risk Reward Index
Syria Defence Industry Risk Reward Index
Table: Middle East and North Africa - Defence Industry Risk Reward Index
Market Overview
Syria Defence Market Overview
Domestic Defence Sector
Domestic Defence Market
International Partnerships And Defence Agreements
Table: Syria - Defence Agreements
Syria Security Overview
Domestic Threats
Regional Threats
International Threats
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Regional Overview
Middle East And North Africa Security Overview
Challenges And Threats To Stability And Security
Regional Power Dynamics
Nuclear Proliferation
External Powers
Global Industry Overview
Political Risk Analysis
Sector-Specific Methodology
Table: Defence Risk Reward Index Indicators
Table: Weighting of Defence Risk Reward Index

The Syria Defence & Security Report features BMI Research's independent forecasts for national and international security, the defence industry, military expenditure, employment in arms production, and arms imports and exports, as well as examining industry trends and prospects, national and multinational arms producers and the regulatory environment.

BMI's Syria Defence & Security Report provides professionals, consultancies, government departments, regulatory bodies and researchers with independent forecasts and regional competitive intelligence on the Syrian defence and security industry.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark BMI's independent defence and security industry forecasts on Syria to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and strategic business planning in the Syrian defence and security market.
  • Target business opportunities and risks in the Asia defence and security sector through reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Asia.
  • Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. KPIs and latest activity).


Global and Regional Political Outlooks

A strategic overview of the world’s major political risks, identifying countries facing leadership successions and nations at risk of upheaval, inter-state conflict, or separatism and insurgencies, plus a summary of the world’s ‘wild card’ low-probability high-impact risks.

SWOT Analysis

Snapshot evaluation of the major issues affecting the defence and security sectors, economy and politics, with issues subdivided into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

BMI Industry Forecast Scenario

Historic data series and forecasts to end-2019 for key industry indicators supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast.

  • Defence Expenditure: Defence expenditure (local currency and USDbn); defence expenditure (% of total budget); defence expenditure per capita (USD); defence budget (local currency and USDbn).
  • Armed Forces (to 2012): Manpower available for military service, manpower fit for militaryservice, army personnel, navy personnel,air force personnel, total armed forces, (‘000) (% population).
  • Arms Trade: Arms and ammunition exports and imports (USDmn); bombs, grenades and missiles exports and imports (USDmn); revolver and pistol exports and imports (USDmn); weapons excluding guns and swords exports and imports (USDmn).

Political Risk Assessment

Drawing on BMI’s heritage of more than 25 years of Country Risk analysis, this comprehensively evaluates the key risks to domestic politics and foreign relations, focusing on issues most likely to affect either domestic security or the defence sector.

Security Risk Analysis

BMI’s proprietary Security Risk Indices provide investors with a reliable and country-comparable guide to conflict, terrorism and criminal risk, backed up by our analyst’s latest assessment of each component. Furthermore, drawing on our Country Risk expertise, we assess the state’s vulnerability to a serious, or prolonged, terrorist campaign.

Armed Forces Spending/ Expenditure

The reports contain a detailed breakdown of areas of expenditure by the armed forces, these include spending on international deployments, WMDs and missile defence systems as well as individual breakdowns of the cost-per-soldier.

Competitive Landscape

The domestic security overview lists the various potential internal security threats facing a country, ranging from internal security issues such as terrorism, cyber terrorism, crime and drugs, to external security issues including general defence procedures and potential threats from specific countries. The reports also provide a regional overview which details specific issues and flashpoints affecting the Americas, along with potential risks in the coming year.

Company Profiles*

Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.


The Defence & Security Market reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports.

*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.